Our first stop was Yangon, where we spent one day training local Red Cross volunteers (pictured) and a further day training staff from other local and international NGOs: 64 people in total. The ReciproBoo frames can be built out of steel or bamboo, but in Myanmar we were using bamboo as it is locally sourced, renewable and cheap. Only seven bamboo poles are required for the emergency shelter, meaning that it costs the family as little as $6.
We then travelled to the Delta region, which is extremely vulnerable to flooding, to conduct the same training. The village of Pyin Ma Chaung is home to 640 households, 365 of which lie outside the dyke and are affected by flooding every year. When the floods are at their highest, they can reach 1.5 or even two metres.
The villagers are forced to move out of their homes and if they are lucky stay with family elsewhere or in a local monastery. Sadly, for a lot of people this is not an option and so they build temporary shelters up in the dyke above the floods. However, in the majority of cases, the roof is not strong enough to withstand the heavy rains or winds and does not provide the necessary structural stability. The reciprocal frame solution was therefore highly relevant in this context.
The people of Pyin Ma Chaung now intend to help families who lose their homes to build emergency shelters using the reciprocal frame. They are even thinking of building the community hall roof out of reciprocal frames, rather than traditional A-frame, so that everyone in the community can see the benefits. From this they can share their knowledge and pass on their skills to others.